14 Jan Speak Your Vues
Thanks for your interesting publication.
I was surprised to see a statement in your last issue, in an article
entitled “How to Deal With Fear” (p.22, column two) describing the
Peleh Yoetz, Rav Eliezer Papo z”l, of Sarajevo as “the great Chassidic
In reality, he was Sephardic.
Editor’s Note: Thank you for alerting us.
REMEMBERING DR. ELDAD
This Hebrew month, Tevet, marks the 24th anniversary of the death of
Dr. Israel Eldad, Zionist philosopher, confidant of Menachem Begin,
and co-leader with Yitzhak Shamir of a 1940s Zionist paramilitary
organization that fought against the British army.
Dr. Eldad’s memoirs of Israel’s battle for independence titled The
First Tithe (Ma’aser Rishon) was published in English for the first
time in 2008. The book is primarily about Eldad’s experiences as a
leader in the Zionist underground LEHI (the Hebrew acronym for the
Fighters For the Freedom of Israel, better known as the Stern Gang or
Stern Group) but begins in Europe. The subtitle of the book is
“Memoirs and Edifying Discourses of the Hebrew War for Freedom.”
Eldad originally published this volume of memoirs in Israel in Hebrew
in 1950. It went through five editions in Hebrew and was considered
must reading for Israelis who wished to understand the years before
the British were forced to abandon Mandatory Palestine. The memoir
covers the period between 1938 and 1948, and the title is a reference
to the 10 year history the books contains when so many Zionist
fighters sacrificed so much for Jewish independence.
The final part of Eldad’s First Tithe contains his penetrating and
contrarian look at the early history of the Israel Defense Forces. He
covers the failure of Israeli army to capture Jerusalem’s Old City in
1948, the decision of the LEHI to disband and integrate into the IDF,
and the brutal attack on the Irgun arms ship Altalena by Palmach
forces. Nineteen Jewish soldiers were killed at the hands of fellow
Jews at that attack. The Altalena episode is seldom recalled today and
Eldad’s account is heart wrenching.
One of the interesting tales Eldad relates early in the memoir is the
story of when at the Betar World Conference in Warsaw in 1938 Eldad
publicly clashed with the great pre-World War Two Zionist leader Zev
Jabotinsky during a debate following Menachem Begin’s proposal to call
for an immediate armed revolt against the British Mandate. After
leaving Warsaw subsequent to the city’s fall to the Nazis, Eldad and
his wife shared an apartment with Begin and his wife in Vilna. In his
autobiographical book White Nights, Begin recalls playing chess with
Eldad when the Soviet NKVD came to arrest him. Here we get Eldad’s
take on the same event.
In 1944, Eldad was seriously hurt while attempting to escape from
British custody in Jerusalem. Eldad was finally freed after a dramatic
prison break engineered by the LEHI. He was still wearing a cast on
his back from the injuries he sustained during his first escape
attempt. This story may be as close as First Tithe comes to the
recollections of armed actions that the reader may expect to find in
an underground army leader’s memoir.
A far more important passage in the book is Eldad’s memories of
celebrating Passover seder in a British prison camp for two
consecutive years. The emotions the prisoners felt that as they
yearned both for their personal freedom to be rejoicing at the holiday
table with their families and their longing to be in free in a strong
and independent Jewish State are brought to life. The story of the
seders are interwoven with Eldad’s commentary on the Haggadah and how
he related it to Zionist independence in front of both the prisoners
and the British jailers as he led the seders.
Zev Golan’s translation brings Eldad’s distinctive voice to English
successfully. No easy task. The English edition was been published by
the Tel Aviv based Jabotinsky Institute and distributed through
Geffen. This translation also includes a short biographical sketch of
Eldad by the Golan. Golan knew Eldad personally and interviewed him
many times, the connection shows throughout the volume.
Geula Cohen, the veteran Israeli politician and journalist who passed
away last month, had a longtime association with Dr. Eldad. The two
worked together on her underground radio station broadcasts for the
LEHI. Eldad wrote much of what Cohen delivered on air. Later they
collaborated on Eldad’s Zionist journal Sullam, created after Israel’s
independence. Sullam was a full-throated critique of Israeli society
and the young Jewish State’s government. In Cohen’s book Woman Of
Violence (later known as The Voice Of Valor) she wrote: “it was Eldad
who, in article, essay, and poem, chiseled on walls of stone the
gospel of war. And these stones pierced hearts, coursed through veins,
and emboldened men to fight.”
Cohen was right. Eldad was one of a kind and First Tithe reflects his
uniqueness as well as his passion for Zionism and Israel.
Editor’s Note: Thanks for sharing
Just two days after American historians overwhelmingly defeated two
anti-Israel resolutions at the American Historical Association’s
annual conference, several leading opponents of the resolution have
reversed themselves and are now planning to join anti-Israel academics
in attacking the Israel.
“This is a shocking betrayal of the majority of pro-Israel
historians,” said Moshe Phillips, national director of Herut North
America, an American Zionist activist movement.
The two resolutions, which falsely accused Israel of mistreating
Palestinian Arab academics, were introduced at the historians’
conference in New York City on January 5, 2020. They were defeated by
votes of 80 to 41, and 61 to 36.
The resolutions were authored by anti-Israel historians affiliated
with the radical group Historians for Peace and Democracy (H-PAD).
That group endorsed anti-Israel pro-BDS extremism back in 2014.
Herut has learned that three prominent historians who opposed the
anti-Israel resolutions have now backtracked. Sharon Musher of
Stockton University, David Greenberg of Rutgers University, and Alice
Kessler-Harris, formerly of Columbia University, sent an email on
January 7 to other opponents of the resolution, announcing that they
“plan to approach H-PAD to see if we might jointly pursue constructive
strategies to support our shared concern for the free movement of all
scholars and students, including Palestinians.”
“It’s outrageous that these supposedly pro-Israel historians are
planning to collaborate with the pro-BDS extremists of H-PAD,” said
Phillips. “Their letter strongly implies that they agree with H-PAD’s
false accusation that Israel persecutes Palestinian Arab academics.”
Herut’s Phillips said: “Musher, Greenberg and Kessler-Harris write as
if they are the leaders of the pro-Israel faction in the AHA—and as if
other pro-Israel historians naturally should support their scheme. In
fact, nobody elected Musher, Greenberg and Kessler-Harris to be the
leaders of the pro-Israel historians, and their actions do not
represent the views of most pro-Israel historians.”
In their letter, Musher, Greenberg and Kessler-Harris say they “hope”
that if they collaborate with H-PAD in criticizing Israel, that “will
encourage a moratorium on repeated submissions of similar and
previously rejected resolutions.”
Phillips commented: “There is no need to cower in fear at the prospect
of H-PAD introducing resolutions. Of course they will continue
introducing resolutions—because that is what Israel-haters do—and
opponents will have to combat them with the power of historical truth.
You can’t appease Israel-bashers by joining in their attacks on
Israel. Appeasement never works, Jewish historians of all people
should know that.”
Editor’s Note: We all know that enemies of Yisrael will not prevail!
WHERE IS THE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT
President Trump has done it! He has forced Democrats to choose to
either be quiet or to say something absolutely ludicrous. 2 weeks ago
President Trump ordered the killing of Soleimani, a former leader of
the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Soleimani is responsible for hundreds
of deaths from people from America, Iran and etc. Conventionally,
these kinds of incidents get bipartisan support like for example when
President Obama ordered the killing of Osama Bin Laden. There were
republicans including; Republican Speaker Of the House John Boehner,
Rep. Peter King, 2012 Presidential Republican Candidate Mitt Romney
and Rush Limbaugh that gave credit to President Obama for his
courageous action. Looking at the killing of Soleimani, Democrats
released their required statement that “no one is mourning his death,
but.. President Trump has now escalated tensions.” The “yes-but”
statements just show how much Democrats can’t stand President Trump.
There was a high ranking Democrat named, Rep. Jackie Spier that even
when so far to blame President Trump for the people that got killed on
the Ukrainian airplane in Iran. Basically she just said the same
talking point of the leader of Iran. When the investigation into the
“accident” concluded that Iran shot down the plane, Ali Kahemenei said
that it was just an accident and they mourn the loss, but ultimately
it was the US’s fault. These ludicrous statements are just a further
demonstration who the Democrats are. They say they support Nancy
Pelosi’s For The People’s Agenda, but when it comes to national
security threats like General Soleimani they say in the words of Greta
Thurnberg, “How dare you” not tell us about this attack and
furthermore this attack is “racist“ in the words of Colin Kaepernick.
Apparently, the Democrats really thought that the bigger national
security threat is President Trump than Soleimani. If that was true,
Nancy Pelosi would have sent the Articles of Impeachment weeks ago,
but no, she didn’t. Whatever the situation or logic, Donald Trump is
the enemy and it is his fault. These are the Democrats. The Democrats
love blaming Trump for everything but the one thing they don’t blame
him for, is when he beat Hillary Clinton, there they blame the
Russians, of course!
Donny Simcha G
Editor’s Note: As Golda Meir said we will not have peace with the
Arabs unless they start loving their children more than they hate Jews
so too this Country will never be normal unless the Democrats will
love their Country more than they hate Trump!
Recently, my cousin sent me several videos showing Blacks commenting
on why Blacks assault or murder Jews. The common theme in all the
reasoning include Jews owning everything and not sharing any of it
with poor Blacks; Jews overtaking all Black neighborhoods and exiling
the Blacks who live there; and Jews being easy targets. My cousin was
surprised that in these videos the speaker is blatant about his
anti-Semitism. She also thought that the rising of Black anti-Semitism
I explained to her that Black anti-Semitism existed in New York City
as long as I recall. I grew up in Washington Heights. It was
interesting to observe that as depicted in “West Side Story”, Blacks
and Puerto Ricans constantly fought each other. But they became best
friends when there was an opportunity to assault Jews. I was assaulted
numerous times regardless of where or when I walked in my
neighborhood. When I was about ten years old, I befriended a tough guy
in my class who wasn’t scared to fight. Once, when I was with him, he
asked a Black teenager why he saw the need to beat up a Jew. His
answer was straightforward. “Because you have the money, and we know
that we can beat you up to get it.”
Little has changed in the past 50 years. Many Blacks feel that they
have been oppressed and stifled by Jews. I have, personally, been
accused of having ancestors that enslaved Blacks and therefore, as
descendant of such mean oppressors, I should compensate them for their
suffering. This is despite that I explained that I am a
first-generation American and my ancestors who lived in Europe not
only never owned or enslaved Blacks; they didn’t even know what these
people were. I also countered with one of them the claim that Jews
overtook their neighborhoods. Nearly every currently majority Black
neighborhood in New York City was once heavily Jewish. Harlem, Bedford
Stuyvesant, Canarsie, East New York and Crown Heights are several of
many Jewish neighborhoods overtaken by Blacks.
So, I’m clueless, here. At least fifty years of Black Anti-Semitism
has existed in New York City, and hardly anyone has acted to
significantly secure Jewish neighborhoods all this time? The Crown
Heights riot during Mayor Dinkins era was an isolated incident that
was just a result of an ambulance accident? Or was it a good excuse
for Blacks to freely assault Jews and their businesses because they
were anti-Semitic long before this incident? Why are people – Jews as
well as Gentiles acting surprised at the current rise of Blacks
assaulting Jews? Most of all, why don’t you hear politicians, the
media, or leadership mentioning specifically that these most recent
crimes have been done by Blacks? It’s as if everyone is still scared
to insult the entire Black population by mentioning this.
The slogan of last week’s rally in Brooklyn was, “No Hate. No Fear.”
If we can’t honestly mention that these latest crimes have been caused
by Blacks, then, the slogan of this rally was a fake. We still fear
Blacks. We know it. Our politicians and leaders know it. Worst of all,
the Blacks know it. We will continue to see more of the same attitude
expressed by that teenager, “We have the money, and we know that we
can beat you up to get it.” This won’t come from just teenagers, as
much of it did fifty years ago. It will come (it already is!) from
I hope that I’m not the only one expressing this. More Jews should
state this to the media and to leaders who can take action. Black
Anti-Semitism exists, and it is increasing. These politicians can
interview Blacks in the same or similar neighborhoods that these video
interviews were done, and they will hear the same thing.
Editor’s Note: This letter is racist! Even if it is true to some
extent, one can’t paint a picture and say all Blacks hate all Jews!
DIFFERENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
Why hasn’t the frumvelt embraced democratic presidential candidate
Andrew Yang? Yang’s freedom dividend (aka universal basic income) is
fantastic for many, and especially a kollel family. That’s an extra
$24,000 a year for a kollel family! The free medical care for all US
citizens is also a burden removed from these families.
Also, it could be a potential solution to the shidduch crisis, since
the girl’s father will no longer be required too much support because
we have a freedom dividend.
Editor’s Note: Maybe it is because Yang has the same chance as Hillary
Clinton of winning the nomination and it is not 2016.
WOMEN LEARNING GEMARA
I heard there are a lot of shiurim for Daf Yomi now given by and
listened to by women. Is this what Rabbi Meir Shapiro envisioned?
Editor’s Note: I am sure not. Gemara is for men, not women, as we see
LIFE IN SPACE
After the moon landing, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Z’TL, stated that there
is support in daas Torah for the notion that life exists on other
planets, although the arguments in support of an ET in chassidish
levush, In the abstract, the concept offers both opportunities (e.g.
solving the shidduch crisis) and challenges (does z’man moshiach mean
ET will be part of the geulah). Now that Elon Musk will soon be
offering “space travel” (albeit suborbital) and our President has
directed NASA to accelerate the schedule for a Mars landing, is it
time to begin worrying about what yidden may discover when they
confront the unimaginably complicated set of issues such as
determining z’man krisas shema while en route to the outer limits of
solar system, pouring negal vasser in a zero gravity environment etc.
Editor’s Note: Why worry? We will deal with it as it happens like any
other technological question.
I had an interesting conversation with my 12-year old son on Friday.
He lives in a safe community in a nice area in NY. He goes to a good
day school in the N.Y. area (not in NYC or Monsey). The students are
made up of Yeshivish Modern, RWMO, and Centrist MO. It also has a
handful of Modern Chasidish and very MO.
The conversation went like this:
Has your school spoken about the attacks on Jews that are going on?
What do you and your friends think about it?
What do you guys say when you talk about it?
“No-one talks about it.”
You’re not concerned about what’s going on?
(slightly annoyed) “We don’t care.”
I was somewhat surprised by his answers. Is this the norm of kids today?
Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, some of the youth are very
self-centered. It is time for a wake-up call for them.
I rarely find any merit in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s initiatives, but I
believe in giving credit where it’s due.
Although it pains me, I compliment him on his recently announced
initiatives: re-imagining the Erie Canal and high-speed rail between
New York City and Buffalo.
The Erie Canal made New York “the Empire State.” Making the Erie Canal
economically and recreationally relevant, and high-speed rail along
the same corridor, could re-invigorate the dead and dying Rust Belt
communities along the way. They called the Erie Canal “Clinton’s
Folly” when Gov. Clinton proposed it.
When completed, it not only transformed New York but extended our
country’s frontier westward, opening up new markets and opportunity.
Good transportation does that. If you’ve lived in the Capital District
long enough, I’m sure you marvel at what I-87 has done to Clifton Park
and points north. Don’t give up, Andrew.
Having said that, now that I have your ear, I’d like to add that Mr.
Cuomo’s unwillingness to extend the authority to perform marriage
ceremonies to federal judges simply because they represent the Trump
administration is petty, spiteful, childish and vindictive. Behavior
like this (not to mention the SAFE Act) is why I regard him as a jerk.
Editor’s Note: The problem with Cuomo is that the good that he does is
so little and so far away. For the city, he has been a disaster.